Guestrooms Eden Rock has been
an island landmark since the 1940s.
As you drive around the island of St. Barthelemy in the French
Antilles, curving up and down steep hills, winding along windswept
beaches and traversing salt marshes and coconut groves, you witness
some of the most stunning vistas in the Caribbean.
The breathtaking diversity of the landscape is mirrored by the
island’s array of luxury boutique hotels ranging from a 14-room
jewel overlooking Gustavia Harbor, to a chic collection of 75
pastel-colored cottages complete with Clarins spa.
Since the most beautiful beaches on this tiny, eight-square-mile
island have not been developed, and since the best part of a
holiday here is exploring the beaches, advise your clients not to
choose a hotel for its beach if it even has one.
Instead, help them choose a property based on their vacation
expectations. Honeymooners desiring solitude and romance might
choose Le Sereno, on one of the island’s most secluded beaches, or
Le Toiny, on the remote south side of the island. If they want to
be smack in the middle of the St. Barts’ jet-set scene, they’ll
stay at the glamorous Eden Rock. If a full-service spa is at the
top of their list, it’ll be the Guanahani or the St. Barth
Isle-de-France. And the Carl Gustaf delivers laid-back, understated
Gallic style, in the heart of Gustavia, the capital.
Eden Rock, a Relais & Chateaux property, is built on a rocky
promontory jutting out into St. Jean’s Bay and has been an iconic
island landmark since original owner Remy de Haenen landed the
first plane on the island in the 1940s and bought the craggy
peninsula for $200. All accommodations are unique and range from
guest suites to the 8,000-square-foot Villa Nina, which rents for
$13,000 a night complete with butler and a car collection.
The beachfront Sand Bar restaurant is the place to lunch and
people-watch on the island; afterward, beautiful bikini-clad babes
and their Cohiba-puffing boyfriends make their way to the lounges
lining the hotel’s tiny beach to while away the afternoon.
Every detail in the 37 suites and villas at Hotel Le Sereno,
each with a private terrace, steps from the beach, was created or
chosen by famed Parisian designer Christian Liaigre, from the
exotic woods to the luxurious ExVoto Paris bath amenities.
The hotel’s pool, set back from the surf, is surrounded by
sumptuous daybeds where guests sunbathe or snuggle while cabana
boys distribute complimentary chocolates made by Le Sereno’s
unrivaled pastry chef. Restaurant des Pecheurs, has some of the
finest food on the island, served in what might be the most
dramatic open-air dining room in the Caribbean. This hotel has
raised the bar, when it comes to service.
Le Gaiac, at Le Toiny, is one of the
best restaurants on the island.
St.-Barth Isle de France, owned by the local Anglican pastor, is a
colonial-style, surf-and-sand sanctuary. The 33 rooms, suites and
bungalows cascade down a lushly landscaped hill to beautiful
Flamands Beach; amenities include two pools, a flood-lit tennis
court rare on the island and a Molton Brown spa with outdoor
The Case de L’Isle beachfront restaurant is a good place to
savor the island’s fresh fish or linger over drinks at sunset.
The Guanahani, a member of Leading Small Hotels of the World, is
ensconced on a 16-acre private peninsula, which juts into a shallow
lagoon a perfect beach for young children. The hotel’s 75 rooms and
suites are spread out among a collection of gaily-painted West
Indian-style cottages with gingerbread trim.
Amenities include two restaurants, tennis courts and a new
Preferred Boutique’s family-run Carl Gustaf, built into a
hillside above picture-perfect Gustavia Harbor, has 14 suites, each
with a spectacular view and private plunge pool. From the hotel,
you can walk to the stylish shops in Gustavia or to Shell Beach,
the best swimming beach on the island. The hotel bar is an elegant
and legendary spot for catching the sunset.
Le Toiny, another Relais & Chateaux property, is off the
beaten track on the windward side of the island, which means
navigating an extremely windy road back to the hotel after wining
and dining in Gustavia or St. Jean. One option might be to dine
only at the hotel’s restaurant, Le Gaiac, which wouldn’t be too
much of a hardship, as it is one of the best restaurants on the
The 15 villas, with their private pools, are among the most
luxurious accommodations on the island; definitely a great place
for honeymooners planning to never leave the room.